The LA Lakers kept their foot in the pedal in the abbreviated offseason with several high-profile additions. Among them for the Lakers was the surprising signing of the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell. There was no hint of that move coming about, which went about effectively ruining the LA Clippers‘ anticipated plans for Harrell.
Lakers’ busy offseason includes Montrezl Harrell
The Lakers didn’t let winning the 2020 NBA title hold them up in any regard over the offseason.
LA may have been financially restricted, but general manager Rob Pelinka made effective use of their limited resources. The team lost prominent role players in Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley. However, the team garnered a more substantial veteran presence.
The Lakers’ first acquired Dennis Schroder in a surprising trade in exchange for Danny Green and their 2020 first-round pick. The team moved methodically through free agency by adding Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol. LA also re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris.
Although star forward Anthony Davis’ return was expected, there was some shock to him inking a five-year, $190 million max deal. LeBron James also signed a new extension that adds another year to his contract through the 2022-23 season.
The plethora of moves has brought forth plenty of buzz toward the franchise’s chances to compete for another NBA title this upcoming campaign. The bulk of the attention from their free agency moves remains on how the team worked out a deal to sign Harrell.
How the Lakers ruined the Clippers’ plans
One of the biggest shockers in the offseason saw the Lakers snag the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
There was no chatter that the Lakers were in the picture to make a strong run at signing Montrezl Harrell. In a recent piece by Sam Amick of The Athletic, it detailed that the Clippers initially hoped to work out a sign-and-trade for Harrell with another team to secure assets in exchange.
The Clippers informed other teams that they had no interest in inking the veteran forward to a $70 million or $80 million deal. However, the Lakers swooped into the picture to bring aboard Harrell.
There may have been no interest in bringing him back, but losing him to their primary competitor for the NBA title is a bit of a gut punch for the Clippers. The Lakers not only added another potentially significant piece but grabbed him on a two-year, $18.9 million deal.
The Clippers did use that financial room to add Serge Ibaka, but it doesn’t help their case with the Lakers possibly getting stronger.
Western Conference may continue to go through LA
The Montrezl Harrell move aside, the bigger picture remains on the two teams in LA likely remaining atop the Western Conference.
Other franchises such as the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Phoenix Suns all improved their roster. However, the Lakers and Clippers may continue to prove to be the toast of the conference.
The Lakers will have the targets on their backs as the defending NBA champions while they have potentially improved their roster. Meanwhile, the Clippers are returning mostly the same team that should see them continue to build on their chemistry from last season.
There will be challenges along the way, but it could all lead the way toward the two LA teams finally facing off in the playoffs.